News

Future of U.S. Solar Threatened in Nationwide Fight Over Incentives

Source: By Nichola Groom, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Two sun-drenched U.S. states have lately come to very different conclusions on a controversial solar power incentive essential to the industry’s growth. In California, regulators voted in January to preserve so-called net metering, which requires utilities to purchase surplus power generated by customers with rooftop solar panels. But neighboring Nevada scrapped the policy – prompting solar companies to flee the state. The decisions foreshadow an intensifying national debate over public support that the rooftop solar industry says it can’t live without.
“Without net metering, it just doesn’t work,” said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of top U.S. residential solar installer SolarCity Corp.

Key House appropriator questions clean energy research push

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

A top House appropriator said today that the Obama administration’s bid to double spending on clean energy research over five years may come at the expense of power sources favored by the Republican majority. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who leads the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz he was “disappointed” the Mission Innovation proposal included in the fiscal 2017 budget request “favors” the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Trump not yet winning on Capitol Hill

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Calling climate change “bullshit” and seeking to abolish U.S. EPA, Donald Trump is stoking populist passions and leading the race for the Republican presidential nomination, including yesterday’s near sweep of the Super Tuesday primaries. But on Capitol Hill, Republicans have been far less eager to hop on board the bombastic billionaire’s bandwagon, although most say they eventually could. They are also raising serious questions as to whether Trump’s bold proposals on energy and environmental issues could be implemented if he won the White House.

Wash. scraps proposed carbon rule, plans new steps on climate

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Washington air regulators last week withdrew their plan to cap large greenhouse gas emitters, promising to present a new proposal in the spring that some observers hope will be more akin to other carbon regulations in the United States. The now-defunct proposal by Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) Department of Ecology would have subjected emitters of more than 100,000 tons per year of carbon to a 5 percent reduction every three years. About 70 facilities were targeted, including refineries, landfills and aerospace manufacturers.

Petrochemical boom seen spurring U.S. emissions

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

U.S. petrochemical manufacturing spurred by the shale revolution and low natural gas prices could have big greenhouse gas impacts, environmentalists today warned in a report. The Environmental Integrity Project highlighted dozens of petrochemical projects proposed in response to low oil and gas prices.

Wind turbines in the Arctic? Not so crazy, China says

Source: By James Osborne, Fuel Fix • Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

One of China’s top power officials wants to build a global power grid connecting solar farms in the Middle East and wind turbines in the Arctic to countries around the world. What might sound like the stuff of science fiction, State Grid Corporation of China Chairman Zhenya Liu said could be developed by mid-century. The foundation of the ocean-crossing grid would be an ultra high voltage power line developed by his company, along with engineering giants ABB and Siemens, which he said would make the delivery of electricity across such vast distances feasible.

Iowa gets 31% of electricity from wind

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

owa increased the percentage of electricity it received from wind last year, climbing to over 30 percent. But state and national leaders said the state could push its renewable energy portfolio higher. “With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities,” Gov. Terry Branstad said in a statement.

U.S. Takes No. 1 Spot In Wind Production; Iowa Reaches Milestone

Source: By NAW Staff, North American Wind Power • Posted: Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

“We are proud of Iowa’s leadership in wind energy,” says Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who also serves as chairman of the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition. “We’ve seen exponential growth in wind energy, and the data released today reinforces what we’ve been seeing in every corner of our state. With potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years, we are committed to building an even greener Iowa future that will provide our Iowa families with cleaner, renewable energy and job opportunities.”

Slew of committees to scrutinize Moniz’s spending, research plans

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 29th, 2016

DOE’s $32.5 billion request includes a 21 percent rise in clean energy research and development, including a large increase for programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which supports cutting-edge technologies outside the reach of the private sector. Other big winners under the proposal include sustainable transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, which would all receive at least a 27 percent increase over last year’s level. The administration is hoping that key appropriators like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — a historical supporter of R&D — will help make some of the funding requests a reality.

Senate energy bill, Flint aid could resurface

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 29th, 2016

Senate Energy Committee ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was also withholding consent, but his office has not responded to requests for comment. The office of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Friday confirmed he had a hold on the energy bill — which he opposed in committee — but declined to comment on whether the objections extended to the Flint deal. Lawmakers plan to vote on that separately. Backers of moving forward with the long-stalled agenda are hoping to get an agreement to set up votes on the energy bill, about three-dozen amendments, and the Flint package.